In its interim results announcement on 18 September 2019, Bonhill Group plc (AIM: BONH), a leading B2B media business specialising in three key areas: Business Insight, Events and Data & Analytics, announced that Last Word Media had experienced some challenging conditions in the UK and Hong Kong, but more normalised trading patterns had returned at Investment News following a weak couple of months in the first half. The Company announces today that the challenging conditions experienced by Last Word Media in the UK and Hong Kong have continued and, although Investment News' performance has improved in the second half, the Group's results for the year ending 31 December 2019 will not reach the levels previously anticipated. Although, on a proforma basis, the Group's revenues will be flat year-on-year, as a result of the significant investment being made to transform its offering, the Board now expects EBITDA for the year to 31 December 2019 to be approximately £2.5m, being materially below market expectations.
Last Word Media
The Company announced in its interim results that Last Word Media was operating in a difficult macro-economic and turbulent trading environment which is still the case. As a result, a cost reduction exercise has been undertaken which will realise approximately £1.0m of the overall £1.5m Group cost savings identified for 2020. Three members of Last Word's senior management team have been replaced and day-to-day leadership has been passed to Simon Stilwell, the Company's Chief Executive. This change has already accelerated collaboration with InvestmentNews and improved internal processes and communication.
The business has undergone a great deal of change since the arrival of Christine Shaw, its new CEO, in August 2019, including the appointment of a new Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Content Officer and largely a new sales team. While the business has grown half-on-half in 2019 and more normalised trading patterns have returned, it will fall short of its target for the year with the shortfall being mainly in traditional media.
The Group continues to develop its offering and is on track to complete its technology investment by the end of this year. This will give the Group the platform to provide a much better service to its core markets and, coupled with the key changes in personnel across the Group, gives the Board confidence going into 2020.
Simon Stilwell, Bonhill's Chief Executive, commented:
"The business has had a difficult 2019, which has continued into the final quarter. However the new technology platform and the calibre of the people we have recruited combined with the underlying work in improving our offering puts the Group in a stronger position. This is underpinned by the £1.5m of cost savings already identified and the ongoing savings associated with faster integration give us confidence of a better return in 2020."